"Have you thought about writing your family history, but found yourself stuck from the start? Writing a family narrative can be a daunting task, but Karen Jones Gowen found a way to bring her mother's story to life." (Homespun Magazine)

Friday, November 23, 2012

What Did the Ghost Say to the Wall?

"Don't mind me, I'm just passing through."

Haha, I'm listening to my grandson tell riddles to his uncle. This one sticks in my mind. Because aren't we all like ghosts just passing through?

As I pass through, I consider life and how it is going so terribly fast. I'm not at all afraid of ghosts. What I fear is lost opportunity. Every day my prayer is that I will know what's best for me to do each particular day.

I haven't always had this prayer in my heart. But as time slips away, and my children are now the age I was when I had them, as I hear my grandchildren read from riddle books and yell, "Why do you always know the answers???" just as my own little boys used to do, I get a little panicky seeing time pass so quickly right before my eyes.

Because there's still so very much to do. I should quit thinking about ghosts and walls and just passing through, and instead live in the moment, like this--

Monday, November 19, 2012

What Caused the Dust Bowl

My husband and I watched part of Ken Burns's Dust Bowl documentary on PBS last night. It is well worth the time, although there were some elements of it that we both found strange.

For instance, although experts agree they have no firm understanding of what caused the cataclysmic event, the consensus as explained in the documentary was that how the farmers planted their crops in the years prior caused the dust storms.

Now I understand that one doesn't want to blame God for such a horrible event as this, just like we don't like blaming Him for the recent hurricane Sandy. I'm not comfortable saying, "The people were wicked, God sent the storm." I don't like hearing others say it either, about any kind of natural disasters.

Yet our human nature, in trying to explain these events, can come up with some pretty silly conclusions, even without blaming God. That's what I thought about the Dust Bowl explanations given in the Burns documentary.

Did the way the farmers plant and plow explain a drought? I don't think so. It was the complete lack of snow and rain that caused the real problem. The planting methods wouldn't have shown themselves without the drought.

As my mother explained in Farm Girl, "It was a seven year drought, is what it was." She lived through it. She and her family and neighbors counted the days, months and years. Seven years! What a horribly long time for an agricultural region to go without significant moisture.

My grandmother wrote her impressions of this time:

"There were so many who cannot even imagine what the dust bowl looked like. It was a place that seemed like God had forsaken it. Some said, 'The people were too wicked. They were paying for their sins.' I was sitting in our church one time during dust storm years and heard those very words.

"My mind dwelt on first one then another in the community, but they all seemed like respectable people. Why there was hardly a one in this dust bowl neighborhood who smoked or drank whiskey, or even beer. They were hardworking farmers who year after year prepared the soil and planted corn and wheat, with high hopes every year, hoping they had seen the last of it. They were standing the drought, but debt piled up. Some summers there was not even a green straw." (from Farm Girl, WiDo Publishing, 2007)

And so as we are faced with inexplicable natural disasters, we try to place a cause and a reason on them. The way the farmers plowed in those days. Government policies. Punishing the wicked. Global warming.

Take your pick, or add a new one. Nobody really knows. At least with the Titanic, there was an iceberg to blame.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Re-opening From the Shadows to the Page

A year ago I morphed this blog into my website. I miss it. I come back here often and wish I still blogged here. So why not? It's my blog, my website, my everything-- the little world we all get to create for ourselves on the Internet-- we can do whatever we want with it, right?

And here's a picture of my three youngest boys at Travis's wedding. Forrest was best man and is straightening the groom's tie in a very efficient, best man way. Sean is looking on critically, to make sure he does it right. Aren't they cute and handsome?